I’d left off before as we were about to enter a guacamole-induced coma while waiting for the rest of the group to get to the house. Need a recap? Check out The Real World: Puerto Vallarta. Needless to say, the other six arrived and were just as impressed with our new crib as we were. After a quick switch of bedrooms, we were all settled in and ready to hit up the convenience store and stock up on the essentials: bread, coffee, and booze.
There was only one thing standing between us and the store: a hill followed by a rope bridge guarded by an alligator.
Pretty ominous, right? But come, on…it’s just a hill. It’s nothing our parents hadn’t probably walked uphill both ways in the snow to get to school when they were our age, right?
This hill would prove to be either the devil or the world’s best lower body workout. Perhaps both. This hill would go on to claim more breath, skin, and bitching than anything else any of us had probably ever – and will probably ever will – experienced in our young adult lives. I equate conquering this hill to giving birth.
Seriously….we’re talking a 45-degree angle hill. The kind of hill that sad little cabs struggle to make it up. The kind of hill that causes cab drivers to say “I was scared driving up it” and consequently charge you an extra 30-50 pesos to drive up it at night.
So down we went.
Hill of Death: Check.
Rickety Rope Bridge that’s Missing Random Planks and has no Light: Check.
Finally to our destination that would become our second home for the next week, we stocked up on all the booze and Bimbo-brand bread we could carry without falling and breaking bottles (alcohol abuse!) on our way back up Mount Everesto (see what I did there? Genius!) and left to head back to our not-so-humble abode.
But not before nearly being mauled to death by an alligator. Good thing we all learned to run in a zig-zag pattern if you’re being chased.
Just kidding. It was just a statue, but we nearly had heart attacks when we first saw it. I mean…who knows…it’s Mexico. There could be alligators, right?
After a trek up the Hill of Death, several adult beverages, and some quality pool time later…it was only a matter of time before the bloodbath would begin. How long before the first injury? Minutes? Hours? Days? Let’s try seconds.
According to the National Safety Council,
“Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department annually (NSC Injury Facts 2011). Adults 55 and older are more prone to becoming victims of falls, and the resulting injuries can diminish the ability to lead active, independent lives. The number of fall deaths among those 65 and older is four times the number of fall deaths among all other age groups.”
Luckily for us, we were not about to add to the statistic. Our slip-and-fall victim was 19, in Mexico, and would not result in an emergency room visit because there was none even remotely close. Jackpot.
Unluckily, however, he went down by the pool (in more ways than one on the trip I’m sure), cracked the back of his head on the tile, and ended up bleeding….something, as we discovered, he is not a fan of at all. Then again, who IS a fan of blood…well, other than psychos and serial killers?
I quickly snapped from Interior Designer Mode (“Whoever spec’d this tile is an idiot. The coefficient of friction on this tile is totally not rated for outside a pool!”) into Jewish Mother Mode (“Oh my gawd don’t wuhrray I pack bandugiz and neaspohrin when I travulh like a good Jewish mutha. I’ll take care uh ya!”). Kicking his boyfriend out of the bathroom, I took matters into my own hands. Whisking him downstairs and busting out the bandaids and Neosporin, I had him doctored up in no time and finished him off with a hearty slap across the face to take his mind off how bad the back of his head probably still hurt and told him he’d be fine. The only threat of a concussion would be from the slap.
And what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t take him back upstairs, mix him a drink, and do a shot with him and the rest of the clan? That’s right, a terrible one. Mazel! Just like that, the kid was fine. Way to go me. I should have gone into medicine.
The following morning, we headed downtown via an 8-peso bus ride. Do the math. At roughly 13 pesos per dollar, the bus was 68-cents each way….and way quicker to get on and off than a CTA bus. Probably because the minute the last person’s foot was on the first step, the bus was tearing down the winding two-lane highway again.
(Take note CTA. This is how you should operate a bus route – no dilly-dallying allowed.)
We spent the wandering the streets of downtown Puerto Vallarta, laying out at the beach, and consuming god-knows-how-many Coronas brought to us by servers nearly as quickly as they ran dry….on the beach nonetheless. With the occasional dip in the Pacific to cool off, consume some salt (ick), and lose some layers of skin to a mix of homicidal waves that wanted nothing more than to drag you across the sand and give you a bad case of 9th-Grade-Blowjob-Knees on your whole body, it was the perfect recipe for a relaxing first full day of vacation.
Until we decided it was a great idea to start losing things.
I mean, as if we hadn’t lost enough blood and skin already in the past 24 hours…what more is it to lose both a wallet AND a whole entire person?
Here we were, one taco away from needing our own TLC reality show about people who can’t stop eating when we decided it was time to head home, freshen up, and head back downtown for round two.
As luck would have it, at some point between the last taco restaurant of the afternoon and the house…my wallet decided to grow legs and walk away, taking hostage my driver’s license, Ventra card, debit card, both credit cards I’d taken, and a couple hundred dollars in cash I’d turned from dollars to pesos like Jesus turned water into wine.
On day two of our eight-day vacation. Leave it to me.
Performing a search from top to bottom of the house, my wallet was officially more elusive than Malaysia Flight 370. Never the ones to let me be a party pooper, my amigos offered to spot me cash for the night so the fiesta could continue.
Several hours later, however, everyone arrived back at the house…….all except for one. Just like my wallet, he was missing in action.
Like any good friends would do, we called it a night and left him for dead. Not really, but since he didn’t have a phone with international service activated there was no getting ahold of him until the next day when he’d be able to call our house from a pay phone or whatever local would be willing enough to fork over their cell phone to some gringo on the street.
Sure enough, the next morning we received a call. Not from prison…not from a local’s cell phone…not even from a pay phone. No. He called us from Blue Chairs, the gay resort downtown where a friend of ours worked as a concierge. Smart thinking.
Since we’d bought tickets the previous day to go on an open-bar gay cruise (complete with go-go boys, snorkeling, and a private beach), he asked if we’d bring him a speedo and his towel and just meet him down at the hotel on our way to the cruise. Easy enough.
Down the hill of death – in a private van since we were smart and lined up a chauffeur this time – and to Blue Chairs we went. With amigo #8 picked up and accounted for, we headed for the booze cruise with our drinking pants on. Bring on the gays, the go-gos, and the go-go juice. We were ready.
Complete with rainbow balloons, Britney blasting from the bow, and a group of hot French Canadians (complete with accents), we knew we were in for a fun day. Sure enough, the minute we stepped aboard we were met with the question of “Tequila or Vodka?” Yes please!
With drinks in hand, we staked our claim at the front of the boat – soon to be joined by the Canadians – and stripped down, ready to get our tan on.
Several drinks and nautical miles later, we arrived at Los Arcos to go snorkeling. Since a few of us aren’t fans of water where you can’t see the bottom, we opted to stay on board and continue to take full advantage of the open bar. Sometime around this blurry point in the day, we thought it would be funny to ask the bartenders how to say different things in Spanish…in particular, our names. Figuring they’d translate to something fun, we were slightly disappointed to say the least when we found out they didn’t turn into anything ridiculous…like Lupita for instance. Alas, we’d end up nicknaming her Lupita from this point forward on the trip, although “Bruisey Susie” would have been more appropriate with the two softball-sized bruises she ended up with from the boat. We blame the waves, not the booze. We weren’t stumbling….the water was just rough.
At some point, we proceeded to fall asleep on the deck of the boat and sleep through destination #2…a private gay beach at which the Canadians apparently opted to go clothing-optional. Shame on me/us/whoever all was passed out. From what I heard afterwards, I definitely missed out on some “prime scenery.”
A solid nap-induced-sunburn later, the cruise came to an end and we transferred from our yacht to the tiny dinghy of a water taxi that would shuttle us back to shore.
Cue my clumsiness.
Between the choppiness of the water, the distance from one boat to the other that I had to step down, the amount of blood in my alcohol system, and the fact that the boats weren’t even tied together and were simply being held together by a person’s failing grip….let’s just say it was a recipe for disaster. From one boat to the other I went, lost my footing and slipped – nearly ending up in the Pacific. Good thing I have a grip of champions thanks to years of white-knuckling it whenever my lead-footed grandma is at the wheel because had I not been holding onto the awning on the boat I would have been more moist than I’d been the second I saw the Canadians start to strip down to their Speedos on the boat.
One lost hat (that’d I’d found at and hijacked from the house) later, I was laughing it off on the dinghy heading for shore en route to get tacos (because duh) and find another bar…preferably the one we’d found the day before with an indoor pool. In reverse order – swimming pool bar THEN tacos – we hit both places then decided to head home. Having already broken the seal, I let the girls know I was going to hit the restroom and would meet them outside the taco joint in a minute.
But of course…leave it to me to not be able to find them. Whoops.
Now let’s recap.
I’m drunk…with no wallet, no cash, and no international cell phone service. In a nutshell…I’m screwed.
After scouting out the street for a few minutes and seeing no sign of the girls, I decided to make the most of the evening and headed back to Blue Chairs to take advantage of the free wi-fi and attempt to contact the guys at the house via Facebook or iMessage. On the way there, my ADHD kicked into full force and I found myself at a rooftop bar watching a drag show. Distraction complete, I hit the beach and fired up my phone….and of course, no one was online. At this point, I decided it was the opportune time to FaceTime my mother and explain to her that I’d lost my wallet the day before and see if she could be my knight in shining armor and wire me money.
Of course, being the occasional night owl she is, she was awake (even with the time difference) and humored my not-so-sober state and tracked down how and where to wire money. Mom of the Year Award right here folks. Boom.
Money transfer arranged, I set about to devise a plan to get back to the house or find somewhere to crash for the night. Always one for an adventure, I opened up my handy-dandy Grindr app to see if anyone had a spare sofa I could crash on for a few hours, but after a while I decided it would be a futile attempt and started to walk. With no idea at all how far of a walk it would be to the house, I stopped and asked a cab driver how far it was to Mismaloya Beach where we were staying.
About 10km. That converts to 6.21 miles. In the dark. Down a winding 2-lane road with no street lights.
After explaining to the cab driver (in Spanish because I’m awesome like that) that I’d lost my wallet and had no cash and would wake up a friend at the house to get money for him, I hopped aboard and was whisked away to my palace. Ringing the Arbys-esque bell outside the front door, I crossed my fingers that someone would be awake since it was closing in on 4am at this point. Lo and behold, one of the girls had just woken up to get a glass of water and heard my frantic-but-not-trying-to-sound-frantic “Helloooo?” and the obnoxious ringing of the bell and came to let me in.
“Where have you been!?!?!”
“Hola! Good morning! Can I borrow 300 pesos to pay the cab driver?”
Chipper as can be, I’d made it home in one piece with my dignity intact and no worse for the wear….well, minus a sore foot that I’d discover the next morning was bruised just as bad as Lupita’s thigh and butt cheek. We looked like poster children for a domestic abuse hotline’s promotional materials. Booze Cruise? More like BRUISE Cruise when you have the two of us aboard.
You’d think after losing people twice, a battle-scarred and bandaged head, and three bruises we’d cut our losses and take it easy the next day. You’d be completely wrong and apparently have no idea who we are. We were only on day 3…..there were five more days of shenanigans ahead of us before we’d call it quits and return to Chiberia.
To be continued…